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Anne Marie Treisman (1935 – 2018) was a renowned member of our department and this annual talk was created to honour the impact of her work.

After earning her DPhil from the department in 1962, she took up a lectureship in the University's Medical Research Council’s Psycholinguistics Research Unit, studying how the brain receives and interprets auditory signals. That subject was central to her work and, after leaving Oxford University, she continued as a researcher and professor at the University of British Columbia; the University of California, Berkeley; and several other institutions, the last of which was Princeton University, where she was a professor from 1993 until her retirement in 2010.

Professor Treisman's discoveries and insights into the role of visual attention in the perception of objects have had a profound influence not only in experimental psychology but also in vision research, neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Her foundational theories inspired thousands of experiments in her own field and beyond. Her accomplishments were recognised by the National Academy of Sciences in the USA in 1994 and by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. In 1996, she became the first psychologist to win the Golden Brain Award. She was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony in 2013 “for a 50-year career of penetrating originality and depth that has led to the understanding of fundamental attentional limits in the human mind and brain.”

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Previous Anne Treisman Lectures

2023 Maggie Snowling (University of Oxford, UK)
Dyslexia Reconsidered: Multiple Pathways from Language to Reading?

2022 Susan Michie (University College London, UK)
Behaviour and the COVID pandemic: Science matters

2021 Marisa Carrasco (New York University, USA)
Attention shapes perception 

2019 Betsy Murray (National Institute of Mental Health, USA)
The visual prefrontal cortex of primates: availability, desirability and arousal

2018 Mahzarin R. Banaji (Harvard University, USA)
Implicit social cognition

2017 Eleanor Maguire (University College London, UK)
Tracking memory traces in the human brain

2016 Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg (Leiden University, NL)
Kernel of truth in the indigo myth?

2015 Annette Karmiloff-Smith (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)
What can babies with Down syndrome possibly tell us about Alzheimer’s dementia in adults?

2014 Jenny Saffran (University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA)
Beyond nature vs nurture: changing views of infant language development

2013 Anne Treisman (Princeton University, USA)
Notes from a life in Cognitive Psychology